Customs Service given powers to stop motorists that have tax debts or alimony payment arrears

Soon, motorists that owe the Taxation Department money or are in arrears with their alimony payments risk having their vehicle confiscated by the Customs and Excise Service. The news that vehicles could be confiscated appears in Friday’s editions of the dailies ‘De Tijd’ and ‘Het Nieuwsblad’. The Customs and Excise Service will use mobile ANPR cameras to detect motorists with tax or alimony arrears. They will be made to pull over and those that don’t pay up straight away will have their vehicle confiscated.

The system already exists for those that have failed to pay fines that have been imposed by the courts.

The Federal Finance Department explains that those that persistently fail to pay their tax or alimony bills will be targeted and not people that just have a few weeks or a couple of months arrears. The Finance Department’s spokesman Francis Adyns told VRT News that "It is not the case that if you return from holiday and you have forgotten to pay your tax bill that you will have been put into the database and risk being pulled over”.

"But there are people that show manifest obstinance when it come to settling their tax bills. This measure will be used for people like these”. The exact details of the new measure will be finalised in the autumn. 

How will it work?

The Customs and Excise Service will use ANPR cameras identify vehicles. The cameras used will be mobile units set up at the roadside. The numberplate information scanned will be linked to a database containing information on people with persistent arrears. Once identified they will made to pull over the side of the road. They will be given the opportunity to settle their debt straight away. If they refuse or are unable to do so their vehicle will be confiscated. 

However, the legal term here is “immobilisation” rather than confiscation as the vehicle’s owner is given 30 days to pay up. Only if he/she fails to do so will the vehicle be officially confiscated. Once officially confiscated the vehicle can be sold to settle all or some of the debt. 

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